Hurricanes at Disney World
So you've planned your trip during a time that's less busy and less expensive but...you're traveling to Florida at the same time that the hurricanes are.
In fact, AccuWeather is predicting that there will be 8 hurricanes this year and has specifically said that Florida could be hit directly.
Florida is long overdue for a direct hurricane hit, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. Though the state has been hit by named tropical storms in the past couple of years, he says, a direct hit by a hurricane has not occurred since Hurricane Charley in 2004.
Although June - November is officially considered hurricane season, most activity takes place in August, September and October.
Here's what to do if you're traveling during that time.
By the time a hurricane makes its way inland toward Orlando, it is considered a storm since it is slowed down by land.
If you're already at Disney World, you will likely be able to head indoors to wait it out. DisneyQuest is a popular place to spend time inside, but it could get crowded really fast.
Other things to do indoors:
- Arcades. These are found at almost every Disney resort.
- Shop. If you went into World of Disney at 10 a.m., you could stay until 5 p.m. and still not have seen everything.
- Kids clubs. In the evening, the Disney World kids clubs provide child care but during the day, they are often open for parents to visit with their kids and do arts/crafts, watch a Disney movie, etc. Kids clubs at Disney World include:
- Simba's Clubhouse at Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Never Land Club at The Polynesian
- Cub's Den at Wilderness Lodge
- Sandcastle Club at The Beach Club
- Camp Dolphin at The Dolphin Hotel
During a hurricane in 2004, Disney World held movie marathons and provided sandwich buffets while guests remained indoors.
Disney World hasn't had to close often due to hurricanes but it has happened twice:
- In 2004, a hurricane virtually destroyed 2 hotels in Downtown Disney. One of those didn't reopen until 2010. Guests had to stay inside their hotels for up to 3 days.
- In 2005, Hurricane Wilma hit the parks, causing them to close for a day.
If you are at home just before a hurricane, you can possibly cancel your hotel reservation and reschedule for a later date. You can read Disney's full hurricane policy at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/hurricane-policy/.
It's important to note that you will only be able to cancel or get assistance with the part that you booked through Disney which usually doesn't include flights. For that reason, I recommend purchasing trip insurance if you're traveling in August, September or October. In fact, the only time I've purchased trip insurance was for a cruise and when traveling to Disney World in October.
You can research trip insurance options using InsureMyTrip.com to compare various plans. If you choose to get trip insurance, you should buy it within 14 days of paying the deposit on your trip to make sure you get maximum coverage.
Here's what my results looked like when I searched:
You can expect to pay roughly $200 on a $5000 trip. Although there's a good chance your trip plans won't be affected by a hurricane, it's worth it to me for the peace of mind and to help to make your trip stress-free.
Planning to get trip insurance? Ever had to use it to cover expenses on a trip? I'd love to hear your thoughts below.